“Oh what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! Psalm 32:1-2 (NLT)
This past weekend I had the privilege of speaking at a women’s retreat for Southwood United Church. We were in a beautiful setting, nestled away in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains overlooking the Ghost River – a perfect setting for drawing close to God.
The theme for the weekend was, “Freedom Through Forgiveness” and we explored the parable of the prodigal son in detail, looking at each son’s failure to have a close, personal relationship with their father.
Both sons distanced themselves from the father figure – one by physically running away, the other by separating himself through his own pride and resentment. But the father never gives up – he reaches out to both sons, extending his arms in a welcoming embrace that promises mercy, grace, and forgiveness.
I remember living a life filled with guilt because of past mistakes. I remember what it feels like to keep secrets from friends and family, to hide parts of my life, to lie to protect my secrets. It's exhausting and demeaning. I was filled with guilt and shame. I believed I was a terrible person, undeserving of love and I felt God could never forgive me.
We read Psalm 32 as part of our worship service on Sunday morning at the retreat. It’s a beautiful psalm, so full of hope. David knows what it feels like to have the burden of sin and guilt lifted from his shoulders. He speaks of experiencing wonderful joy and freedom in confessing his sins to God and receiving forgiveness.
Three years ago I felt God calling me to a life in His presence. I made a decision to share my secrets and risk it all...risk losing my friends and the family members I held so dear. I shared my secrets and confessed my sin to God and I experienced the same amazing joy described in this psalm.
When we seek forgiveness in God’s loving arms we move into a life free from guilt and shame. We’re freed from the heavy burdens we carry with us.
“Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, ‘I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.’ And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Psalm 32:8
I’m living proof of these verses. It’s such a relief to live a life free from the unbearable burdens of guilt and shame. Return to God and find your own freedom in His forgiving arms.
“Oh what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!
Psalm 32:1-2 (NLT)